November 18, 2020

Coffea Break: Are Same-ly Different Needs

by christopherabdo
In this Coffea Break, I'll be mentioning Marshal Rosenberg's Book, Non-Violent Communication 

to talk about the universal humans needs, the needs we all share. Everyone has some need for fresh air, for nature and for interacting with nature...for some of us however, the need isn't quite as strong as in others. For me, that need is very strong, yet because I was unaware of that need, I had a lot of struggles in my life that were really symptoms of that unmet need. So what I'm hoping to make easier for you, is the process of discovering if interacting with nature is an unmet need for that you can see how by addressing this root need you may have, many other problems you face in your life may be eased or even disappear...while making you a better person and empowering you to have a better impact on those around you. 

Below I'll share an article I wrote on my website for singing, to give you a sense of what this was like for me: 

For years, I would buy houseplants. I was very good with my budget in all other categories, but when it came to plants, I just kept blowing it. Even when I had over 400 plants and I couldn't take care of them all and I was completely overwhelmed, I would still buy MORE plants. I absolutely love plants, but it became a mixed bag for me: on the one hand, I had so much delight I would get from each flower, each new leaf unfurling. It touched something deep within me. On the other hand, I felt guilt that I couldn't take care of them the way I wanted to, fatigue and overwhelm and guilt that I was spending too much on plants (when I was barely scraping by as it was). 

So when an opportunity came by to get a community garden plot, my own guilt and overwhelm made me say "that's the last thing I need!". 

I was dead wrong. A couple years (and many guilty plant purchases) later, I finally got a point where I realized that I may never be able to have my own land or yard to grow vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, pond plants (you name-it-I-probably-want-to-grow-it) so I wasn't going to wait anymore and I was going to take the leap, even though in the back of my head I thought it was really going to send me into the deep end of regret. 

I was so, so, SO wrong. I will forever be humbled (and over-joyed) that I made what seemed at the time like an impulsive decision. 

When I went to my plot for the first time, I felt like a void in my soul had been filled. I felt like I was looking for one place to interact with nature, be in the sunshine and watch things grow my whole life and I finally had a place to do that. 

I shrugged off that feeling. I thought "this is totally me just being a ravenous American consumer getting a short thrill with a new toy". Ouch, rough right? Remember I was living with a lot of plant-buying guilt! 

Then something started to change. I noticed over the weeks that my anxiety levels started to chill out a little bit. I noticed a few months in, that I couldn't remember the last time I was depressed...I had bouts of depression since I was 18. Then I noticed that outside of the investments for the new garden plot, I hadn't bought any new plants. Then I realized that my deep need for nature, had shown itself through depression and compulsive plant buying. It was only when I satisfied that much deeper need within myself through being outside in the garden, that I discovered that thing that I thought would just be "one more thing on my plate" was EXACTLY the most nutritious thing on my plate that got to the root cause of my depression, was a lot of fun, gave me exercise, gave me vitamin D, helped me spend a more happy budget number on plants and made me realize that I don't really know very much about what I need. 

So the same interest in plants and gardening that created a lot of guilt and stress in my life, became the interest that stopped a shopping addiction and lifted years of depression. It happened because I stumbled on the deeper human need for nature in my soul. Do I forget all about this and sometimes look at the garden as a "chore"? Hell yes! Slowly I'll noticed a feeling of dissatisfaction with life creep in as weeds creep into the untended garden plot. Then I awake from my slumber and get back at it and feel fresh as a datura (datura is a great flower for the Texas heat, definitely better than a daisy). 

If you're like me, you might not know what you need. My goal is to give you the space and freedom to discover new things within yourself, so that you can discover if, by satisfying your innate human need for nature, you can plant the seeds of transformation.


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